Sexual abuse and sexual assault mean the same thing. It occurs any time you have a sexual experience with another person that you don’t want, but you are pressured, tricked, coerced, forced or threatened to participate.
Pressure can look and feel like many different behaviours, such as peer pressure to be ‘cool’ or pressure that ‘everyone else does this’.
Coercion usually involves a threat of hurting you in some way (i.e. 'If you don’t do this then I will... ') or a promise (i.e. 'If you do this then I will make sure you get that promotion').
It can include any kind of sexual act and it can happen at any age. Sexual abuse happens to people of all sexualities and genders, and perpetrators can be of any sexuality or gender as well.
It can happen whether you are ‘out’ or not. It can happen to anyone, no matter how you identify – bi, gay, bear, queer, a top or a bottom, femme or butch or straight acting. And it can happen no matter what you are wearing, whether it is leather or drag, a business suit or shorts and jandals.
Sexual abuse/assault might include:
Being watched when you are undressing or naked
Being touched or groped by strangers, or by people you know, or by your partner/s
Being forced to participate in sexual acts that you don’t want, even if you have wanted them at another time, or even if you have wanted other kinds of sexual activity
Being misled about what sexual activity you have agreed to, or who you have agreed to sex with
Being misled about what is going to happen during an agreed sexual activity – for example having a condom removed or partially removed without you knowing
Someone being sexually active with you when you are unable to agree or disagree because of drugs or alcohol, or because you were asleep or unconscious
Being forced to watch other people being sexual, or digital material of people being sexual.